WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Alphonso R. Jackson, CEO, A.R. Jackson Advisors LLC and 13th U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Jackson joins 11 other esteemed business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2018 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admired leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.
The youngest of 12 children, Mr. Jackson grew up in a four-room home in South Dallas, Texas. He learned the importance of a strong work ethic from his parents as his father worked three jobs in order to support his family. During childhood, Mr. Jackson was a severe asthmatic, and he spent much of his early life in and out of the hospital. Many doctors thought he would not live past his teen years, but he beat the odds by training in track and field, and later received a track scholarship to attend Lincoln University. As a college student at the height of segregation in the U.S., he participated in the famed civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Mr. Jackson ultimately graduated from Truman State University in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in political science, and completed a master's program in education administration the following year.
After receiving his juris doctor from Washington University School in St. Louis of Law in 1973, Mr. Jackson became an assistant professor there and took on a series of jobs in public service in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1989, he moved back to his hometown and became president and CEO of the Dallas Housing Authority. Because of the successes experienced under his leadership, Mr. Jackson was appointed U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer under the George W. Bush administration. In 2004, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed him as the nation's 13th U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). During his tenure, there was an 11.5 percent reduction in the number of persons reported as chronically homeless. He later spent time as the distinguished university professor at Hampton University, as vice chairman of mortgage banking at JP Morgan Chase and most recently, senior advisor with First Data Corporation. Today, Mr. Jackson serves as CEO of A.R. Jackson Advisors LLC, an advisory services company focused on addressing housing and urban development and housing finance issues. He serves on the First Data Corporation International Board and the U.S. Institute for Peace International Advisory Council.
"Alphonso has dedicated his career to improving the lives of underserved Americans," said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. "Despite the challenging times in which he grew up, he never lost faith in this country and its citizens, and he chose to give back as a faithful public servant. His tremendous accomplishments provide our Scholars with an inspiring example of how one can turn struggles into successes and we are proud to recognize Alphonso as a new Member."
Mr. Jackson has been recognized throughout his illustrious career for his commitment to helping others. He has served on a number of national and state commissions, most notably the National Commission on America's Urban Families, the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing and the General Services Commission of the State of Texas, where he served as chairman. Mr. Jackson has also participated on the boards of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Nature Conservancy of Texas, the United Way of Dallas, and more. He has received many prestigious awards from organizations such as The Aspen Institute, The National Boys and Girls Clubs of America and The National Academy of Achievement. He and his wife, Marcia, created a fund in their names with Communities Foundation of Texas, which supports educational institutions annually.
"I am honored to receive such a distinguished award in the company of so many outstanding individuals," said Mr. Jackson. "From a very young age, my parents instilled in me the value of education and the importance of never giving up on my dreams. I took their advice to heart, and I have built my success upon these ideals. I look forward to meeting the 2018 Horatio Alger Scholars and helping them to realize their own potential, no matter what they may have had to overcome in their young lives."
Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.
Mr. Jackson and the Member Class of 2018 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 5-7, 2018, during the Association's 71st Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.
For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2018, please visit www.horatioalger.org and/or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.
About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2017, the Association awarded more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada, and also provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.
SOURCE Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.